Study Finds Child Tax Credit Expansion Fueled Dip in Anxiety, Depression in Recipient Families
Posted by Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity on February 6, 2024
In this Spotlight Exclusive, we speak with Rita Hamad about a newly published study on how the 2021 Child Tax Credit (CTC) expansions had positive impacts on the mental health of families who received it. Hamad, director of the Social Policies for Health Equity Research Center (SPHERE), and her team work to evaluate the effects of social and economic policies on health.
“Our goal is to produce scientific evidence to inform policy making to address health equity,” says Hamad. Using data from the U.S. Census, the team examined and compared mental health measures such as depression, anxiety, and use of mental healthcare services for low-income parents who received the 2021 CTC expansion. “We saw a reduction of three percentage points, for example, in anxiety, which is a 13% improvement from baseline,” says Hamad. With less financial weight on parents, the team found that overall stress levels improved by using the CTC on things like food and housing. Hamad says while the 2021 CTC changes lifted three million children from poverty, provisions currently under debate in Congress would reach just 400,000. “But … it’s better than nothing and will definitely be hugely helpful to those families.”
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